On a recent episode of the 83 Weeks Podcast, Eric Bischoff spoke about his time with WWE in 2019 as the Director of SmackDown.
Bischoff spent less than a year as the SmackDown Director and detailed his day-to-day job in 2019. The WWE Hall of Famer also mentioned what his team would do each day, detailing how when they weren’t getting ready for TV, they were preparing for a meeting with Vince McMahon to get their ideas approved.
“The morning always started with meeting with the writing team and kind of picking up where we left off the night before or attacking a new assignment that we needed to get ready for,” Bischoff said. “In many cases, that new assignment would be okay, we’ve got a meeting with Vince Tuesday night at 8 o’clock at night, he wants to see what we’ve got in mind for [SmackDown].
“Part of the team would work on what needed to be done for television that particular week, part of the team would work on preparing for the meeting we were going to have with Vince. My role wasn’t really creative, I was solving problems more than creating ideas but I wasn’t day to day in the writers room. I managed the writers room, I wasn’t a part of the writers room. I would also be meeting with the Head of Licensing or the Head of Promotion or having a phone call with someone from Los Angeles preparing for the FOX launch.”
On a previous podcast, the former Director of SmackDown spoke about being let-go by WWE during his short stint in 2019. Bischoff continued to say that most of the time he spent on the job was just waiting around for McMahon to meet him and talk about an idea.
“Most of it for me was preparing for or meeting with Vince,” Bischoff said. “This is the part that drove me bat-s--t crazy. I’ve talked about not being able to adapt and this is one of the things that I really didn’t adapt well too is I don’t like sitting around waiting, I just don’t. It drives me bat-s--t crazy, it’s a waste of my time, I get bored with myself. The mental energy that starts getting created when I’m sitting around doing nothing is not healthy. It wasn’t just me, it was me and Paul [Heyman] and Bruce [Prichard] and a bunch of other people. As we’re preparing for this meeting we had with Vince all day, we get a call saying ‘Vince is running late,’ okay cool, how late? ‘He should be ready by 8,’ great okay, we’ve got work to do, we can stay productive. Then you get to quarter to 8 and Vince isn’t ready yet. Okay, we’re all still here, let us know. [Talking to his wife] ‘Hunny, I know it’s midnight, I told you I’d be home but I’m going to go into this meeting with Vince.’
“There were often times that the 6 o’clock or 8 o’clock scheduled meeting with Vince didn’t start till midnight. That’s the culture and I probably along with a lot of other people spent more time waiting. It’s hard to be productive and go off in a direction if you haven’t gotten the approval you need or the buy-in that you need along the way. You get to a certain point where what else can we do until we know if this plan is approved or not, so there was a lot of sitting around and waiting.”
Bischoff noted that he felt very disrespected sitting around and waiting for McMahon.
“My days were really productive from 10 o’clock in the morning to 5 o’clock in the afternoon, and then most of the time it was essentially waiting for Vince,” Bischoff said. “Keep in mind, Monday nights we were doing TV, Friday nights we were doing TV so we’re talking about Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday here. Then of course on weekends you’re on call all weekend, you’re working your ass off all weekend. For me personally, and this is something I had a hard time adjusting too, don’t be surprised if you get a call at 3 o’clock in the morning and Vince has a question. I don’t mind that, typically I don’t mind that but oftentimes for me what wore me down wasn’t the call at 3 o’clock in the morning, it was knowing that I have to be prepared for a call at 3 o’clock in the morning. Meaning you’re never really away from anything, your phone is with you, I took my phone to bed with me for crying out loud.
“That’s the part that really got to me, that was the grind for me that took me [out of it]. I’m not blaming Vince McMahon or WWE, that’s their culture and their process, my job is to adapt to it and succeed at it and I failed at that. To me, that was the biggest challenge. I’m not saying I’m worth a lot of money, but my time to me is worth a lot of money and to sit around and burn it and waste it was fatiguing in its own way but also the way I look at things, very very disrespectful. That’s where things started falling apart for me. It just demotivated me, it took me out of the game.”
Bischoff also gave McMahon credit for surrounding himself with people like Nick Khan. The former WCW President mentioned how great Khan has been for WWE managing the business side of the company.
“Anybody that’s spent five minutes with him knows that he can be a stubborn guy,” Bischoff said. “Vince is entrenched in his way of doing things and we see that creatively, we see the results of that. But at least Vince at least acknowledges it and surrounds himself with people that will at least attempt to push him.
“We all talk about Vince in terms of what we see on television and choices he’s made and talent issues, but what I’m fascinated by is how much success Vince has had on the business side of things by surrounding himself with the best of the very best. Vince’s willingness to let other people run the business side of his business, he still has control over those decisions, but he surrounds himself with some really smart people and Nick Khan is one of them.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.